One of the most important ways you can help protect yourself from bed bugs while you travel is to avoid hotels (and hostels) that are known to have bed bug problems.
You could maybe call every hotel but that would be time consuming. Also, no knock against hotels, but I would rather get my information from a 3rd party than directly from the hotel.
You can off course talk to friends, family and colleagues before you travel. This works best if you know people that travel frequently to the same place you will travel to.
In all cases, it is very easy to check online when you are in the process of finding and booking your hotel. It doesn’t take too long and can help you filter out places that have blatant bed bug problems.
Checking Bed Bugs Hotels Online
People look for hotels online in a few different ways. Some people go to the big travel package sites like Expedia.com, Travelocity.com and Orbitz.com. Other people go directly to the website of the hotel they are staying at and make the reservation there. No matter how you find your hotel though, you should run it through a quick series of checks to help you rule out the bed bugs hotels before you book.
With all of the sites below, always pay attention to the date of any result or review you use. If you find a review that mentions bed bugs that is 5 years old and no newer reviews mention it, there is a good chance the hotel took care of the problem. Likewise, if you find old reviews don’t mention bed bugs but the most recent reviews do, you’re probably better off looking for a different hotel.
Travel Package Sites
If you are on a long page with lots of reviews, you can press the Ctrl and F keys (Ctrl-F) on your keyboard and it will bring up a box that lets you search the text on that page. Try searching for bedbug or bed bug. (Some people spell it with 1 word, other people with 2.) There are often a lot of reviews on these sites.
If you go through a couple pages of reviews for a hotel and don’t come across anything, you are probably ok.
TripAdvisor.com provides an easy way to search for hotels by name and location. Hotel listings include hotel amenities, local maps and attractions, restuarants and reviews. You can look through these reviews for mention of bed bugs. As above, use Ctrl-F to open the on-page browser search feature so you can search for the words bed bugs.
HotelChatter.com is a site that aggregates hotel news. It is not set up the same as TripAdvisor but it is still good to check here.
BedBugRegistry.com shows places where people have experienced bed bugs. They submit the name and location of the infestation they encountered and the date they encountered it. It’s very easy for you to search by hotel or address. I’m not sure if it is updated as heavily as some other sites but it is still worth checking before every trip.
You can also do some good detective work directly from a search engine.
Let’s say I’m searching for Joe’s Hotel in Manchester CT. On my travel package site it shows up as Joe’s Hotel Manchester CT. I might do a Google search like this: “Joe’s Hotel Manchester CT” “bed bug”. Using quotes as above in Google makes it so the search engine looks for that exact text. In this case I have two things to match exactly: “Joe’s Hotel Manchester CT” and “bed bug”. Any pages that have these two phrases on them will show up in the search results. Likewise, I could simply type in Joe’s Hotel Manchester CT bed bugs and see what comes up. It is not as precise though.
This is as much of an art as it is a science. But it is worth playing around with a few queries — especially if you can’t any other information.
I’m booked and ready to travel. Now what?
You did your homework and now you’re about to go on the road. Before you go, read Bed Bug Protection Tips for Travel which will help keep you out of trouble. If you find any more sites or have useful tips for other readers, please contact me and let me know so I can improve this page.